Perrion Winfrey’s production has been minuscule, to say the least, since the franchise drafted the defensive tackle out of Oklahoma with the No. 108 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. While Winfrey’s natural skill set should make him an asset worth holding onto, his issues off the field and in the locker room have put his future with the team in undeniable peril.
“The ice is thin for Perrion Winfrey, who has already found himself in the doghouse on three separate occasions in just a calendar year with the team,” Cory Kinnan of USA Today’s Browns Wire wrote on Thursday, July 6.
Beyond his behavioral problems, Winfrey now must navigate a more stacked position group after Cleveland engaged in an active offseason on its defensive front.
“After adding Dalvin Tomlinson and Siaki Ika, and with Jordan Elliott restructuring his deal, roster spots in the defensive tackle room have become slim,” Kinnan continued. “In all likelihood, this leaves Winfrey to battle it out with other free agent adds Maurice Hurst and Trysten Hill for a final roster spot or two. … Winfrey has a ton to prove in Cleveland, and he may have to do it sooner rather than later.”
Browns All-Pro Myles Garrett Called Out Perrion Winfrey Early in 2022 Season
Winfrey’s most recent issue involved his April 10 arrest on a misdemeanor assault charge in Texas. Citing court documents, TMZ reported on April 12 that Winfrey allegedly grabbed his girlfriend’s arm during an argument, causing “bodily harm.” Two months later, on June 12, ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported that the court had dropped the misdemeanor assault charge against the Cleveland defensive tackle.
The incident was problematic for several reasons, not the least of which is that it added to an established trend of off-field issues that have characterized Winfrey’s first NFL season. The 22-year-old’s other problems have been related to his attitude in the locker room.
Winfrey posted a cryptic tweet that spawned a somewhat contentious Twitter back-and-forth with a fan after the defensive tackle was a DNPCD (did not play, coach’s decision) in a November 13 road game against the Miami Dolphins, which the Browns lost 39-17.
“Interesting exchange from Perrion Winfrey that he later deleted,” Randy Gurzi of DawgPoundDaily tweeted.
Browns All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett publicly called out Winfrey early in the regular season after the team suspended the DT one game for disciplinary reasons.
“I think we all have to step up and say something, but sometimes silence speaks louder than words,” Garrett told reporters on September 16. “We’ve used our voice a couple of times, and at the end of the day, [Winfrey has] got to learn how to be a pro. [Head coach] Kevin [Stefanski] took it into his own hands, and he felt like that was the right thing to do, and I’m behind my coach’s actions totally.”
Perrion Winfrey’s Play Hasn’t Helped His Case to Remain in Cleveland
Winfrey played in 13 games during his rookie campaign, notching 22 total tackles, including one tackle for loss. He also tallied three quarterback pressures, registered two QB hits, made 0.5 sacks and broke up two passes, per Pro Football Reference.
As minimal as Winfrey’s impact was in the Browns’ pass rush, where he earned a less-than-middling Pro Football Focus grade of 56.2, the DT was actually worse against the run. PFF graded Winfrey’s rush defense at an abysmal 36.0 last season. His overall player grade was 41.6, which was good enough to rank him just 117th out of 127 defensive tackles who saw enough snaps in 2022 to qualify.
Surprisingly, Elliott was actually worse than Winfrey last year, earning an overall player grade of 40.4 in his third professional campaign, which ranked him 118th at the position.
However, as Kinnan noted, the Browns reworked Elliott’s contract to include $1.7 million in guaranteed money in 2023 before he hits free agency next summer. That all but guarantees Elliott’s spot on the roster, per Jack Duffin of the Orange and Brown Report, which puts Winfrey in an even more precarious position.